The General Tools PalmScope (DCS950) is exactly what it sounds and looks like – it’s a compact inspection camera that fits in the palm of your hand. Technically, it’s a borescope, as the PalmScope does not have any built-in image capturing functionality.
Part of what makes the PalmScope so compact is how the housing spreads apart to reveal an internal storage area for the probe cable to wrap around. The front and back sections squeeze back together, and the inspection camera is ready to be stowed away for storage or transport.
The probe is 9mm in diameter (0.35″), and attached to a 24″ thin and flexible cable. Variable brightness LEDs built into the probe greatly help to improve image quality. The probe and cable are rated to IP67 dust and water resistance standards, which means you can guide it down drains, into pipes, or inside other wet areas.
The LCD screen measures 2.7″ diagonally, and resolution is 320 x 240 pixels, which provides for decent image quality.
- LED brightness (higher and lower)
- Image rotation
- Image zoom
Overall, the PalmScope is a nice compact and no-frills inspection scope. However, there are a few downsides. First, the cable is very flexible to the point of being a little floppy. It can hold up on its own strength, but it’s not as rigid as other gooseneck inspection camera cables. The tradeoff is that the cable is very thin, very flexible, and very easy to route around obstacles and into hard-to-reach areas.
Although it’s nice to be able to hide the probe cable inside the PalmScope housing, it can sometimes be a minor hassle to get it to seat properly. The probe cable must be wrapped around the device core in a very specific manner, otherwise the PalmScope housing won’t snap closed properly.
General Tools says the PalmScope is the same size as a smartphone, but I find that to be a slight exaggeration. It’s about the same size as a pocket-sizes walkie talkie radio.
The scope feels reasonably durable, and General Tools says it is rated as being able to endure drops of up to 1 meter.
The scope calms with nylon pouch that can be tossed into your tool bag or worn on your belt, and a couple of attachments such as a 90° mirror, pickup hook, and magnetic pickup.
You will probably like this inspection scope if you’re the type of user who wants a compact scope that is quick and simple to use. It’s powered by 4xAAA batteries, which also helps to keep everything small.
You probably won’t like this scope if you’re looking for more features, such as image and video recording, a wireless display, or the ability to connect different cables for different applications.
The best thing about the PalmScope is how compact it is. It’s a well thought out device that is smaller and easier to carry around than any other inspection scope or camera I’ve seen thus far. But, the small size does lead to some of the mentioned tradeoffs.
Thank you to General Tools for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for editorial and comparison purposes.